methylphenidate, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER

Pharmacy Author:
Medical and Pharmacy Editor:

GENERIC NAME: methylphenidate

BRAND NAME: Ritalin, Ritalin SR, Ritalin LA, Concerta, Methylin, Methylin ER, Metadate CD, Metadate ER

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Methylphenidate is a medication that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS or brain) in a manner that is similar to the amphetamines; however, its actions are milder than those of the amphetamines. An additional difference is that methylphenidate produces more noticeable effects on mental activities than on motor activities. Methylphenidate and amphetamines both have abuse potential. In treating children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), methylphenidate produces a calming effect. This results in a reduction in hyperactivity and an improvement in attention span. Methylphenidate also is used to treat excessive sleepiness. Methylphenidate was approved by the FDA in 1955.




  • Tablets: 5, 10, and 20 mg (Ritalin);
  • Sustained-release tablets (Ritalin SR): 20 mg;
  • Long acting tablets (Ritalin LA): 20, 30, and 40 mg.
  • Extended release tablets (Concerta): 18, 27, 36, and 54 mg.
  • Chewable tablets (Methylin): 2.5, 5, and 10 mg;
  • Solution (Methylin): 5 mg/5 ml, 10 mg/5 ml.
  • Extended release tablets (Methylin ER, Metadate ER): 10, 20 mg.
  • Extended release capsules (Metadate): 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 mg.

STORAGE: Tablets should be kept at room temperature, 15C C 30 C (59 F to 86 F).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2014

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Pill Finder Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.

Back to Medications Index